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India: Muslims cremate Hindu victims as kin shun last rites over infection fears

14th May 2021

Harun Nasrullah

Two Muslim civic workers have been praised for working tirelessly to perform the last rites of Hindu Covid-19 victims in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.

News 18 reported how Danish Siddiqui and Saddam Qureshi are performing last rites of victims whose kin have refused to cremate the bodies in fear of contracting the infection.

The men are lauded for “tirelessly” performing last rites while fasting; both the young men have been making rounds of hospitals and crematoriums and perform their duty wherever required. The two claim that they get calls from families of Covid-19 victims who say that they can’t perform last rites and instead request them to undertake the last rite rituals. Some even make video calls to see the last sight of the departed souls.

The duo, who have cremated over 60 victims, said that “humanity is much above religion. Some people are unable to cremate because of fear and some out of financial constraints.”

In some cases, they have “also taken up admitting the patient to the hospitals. In case of deaths, they take the body to the crematorium and perform last rites.” Crematoriums, including major crematorium-Bhadbhada vishram ghat- are overworked due to the influx of dead bodies. The two-acre land adjoining the crematorium is also being used to perform the last rites.

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